Abs. Abdominal muscles. Rectus Abdominis. Whatever you call them, you have them. Everyone does. The tricky part is getting rid of all the junk on top of them.
David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men’s Health and author of The Abs Diet, has constructed a simple and straight-forward plan for healthful living. He says that your priorities must center on healthy nutritional principals and fat-burning workouts.
“To show off your abs, you have to burn fat. To burn fat, you have to build muscle,” he says. By adding only one pound of muscle, you will be forced to burn up to an additional 50 calories every day. I’ve composed a list of my favorite ab exercises from Zinczenko’s book — one move for each region of abdominal muscles. These five exercises will make up one ab workout.
Working the abs two or three days per week is best, doing a different routine each time you hit the gym. Start off doing just one set of each exercise, gradually increasing in the following weeks as you build endurance. When doing these exercises, Zinczenko says to go slow, taking four to six seconds to complete each repetition.
Upper abs: “Toe Touch.” For the exercise, you lie on your back with your legs raised directly over your hips, knees slightly bent. Raise your arms up straight towards your toes. Relax your head and neck. Raise your upper body toward your pelvis, lift your shoulder blades off the floor and reach toward your toes. Hold for a second and slowly return to start. 12 to 15 reps.
Lower abs: “Flutter Kick.” Lie on your back and raise both feet about a foot off the ground. Scissor kick one leg over the other. 20 reps.
Obliques: “Speed Rotation.” While holding a dumbbell (any weight that’s comfortable) with both hands in front of your midsection, twist 90 degrees to the right and then all the way back around (180 degrees) to your left. Keep your abs tight and move fast. Bring to center. Alternate the side you start with. 10 reps each side.
Transverse Abdominis: “Two-point bridge.” Get into standard push-up position. Lift your left leg and right arm off of the floor simultaneously. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. That’s one repetition. Lower and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. 6 to 10 reps.
Lower Back: “Superman.” Lie on your stomach with your arms fully extended out in front. Raise your arms, shoulders and legs off of the ground, keeping your body tight. Squeeze and hold for a count of 3 seconds. Lower back to start. That’s one rep. 12 to 15 reps.
Although finding the time to work out might seem close to impossible, this circuit is quick, simple and can be done almost anywhere. Even the smallest commitment to regular exercise will improve your overall health and well being.
Amanda Sandlin is a junior journalism major.